Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today Has Been A Good Week

Today Has Been A Good Week
This here is a collection of collages done in July 2008. They were partially inspired by a found book of crocheting patterns. It's one of those books from the 70s with ridiculously vivid example plates of psychedelic crochet patterns and amazing worksheets that provide some great textures. Here's an example of some of the stuff:
The book provided enough to do 16 of these! With the option to do more. Find them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22470937@N07/

Not only that but it also provided a nice new obsession to ruminate over: knit pattern books from the early 70s. Add that to a list that also includes vintage Life and Playboy magazines, graphic novels and record shopping with imaginary money. Amazing!

Anyway, in keeping with the "end of winter thaws my creativity and work ethic back to life" vibe that I've been working with all day today, I'm gonna go ahead and say this blog will get more updates than it has in the last six months.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Head 2 Head

This weekend is "thee" weekend, as they say. Although it's surprisingly slow, for us!

Even though we've only got two parties happening this weekend, they're good ones: ROOM PARTY goes down at the Boat with guests OPOPO and Tom Croozbeh, while LISP happens down the street at The Beaver with Pat C and CTV News at Noon. Neither of these are to be missed even though they're happening on the same night!

August is proving to be a pretty slow month for us at Friends Explode HQ, though. But I guess that's true for every promoter in this city. For our part, the lack of events doesn't mean a lack of action on any of our parts: The Ossington continues to take shape as THE local to go to between Thursday and Saturday on the Ossington strip, Andrew's working toward a solo show at Magic Pony, the Young Flux boys are preparing for their debut EP to be released (late September!), and Colin and I are getting ready to go back to school.

Keep checking back for more info on all of these things, including two upcoming live showcases as well as the PINNACLE fundraiser at the end of August.

What's Pinnacle, you ask? Only the most inspired design/art magazine to come out of the city in the last few years. It's run by a hell of a bloke and your attendance at his fundraiser should not only be expected but expectedly mandatory. He's the guy responsible for all of the Lost Cats and LISP posters, as well as a lot of the design work for the Ossington. And Pinnacle is a great magazine! Copies are available at This Ain't the Rosedale Library as well as Pages, but the best place to go to get your copy is THE OSSINGTON, on Saturday August 23rd! Check this out:


Anyway! That's all for now. Can't wait to see you at one of our events. New tracks will be posted soon, as well as a new mixtape for your consumption. I haven't been listening to anything but country records lately, so it'll be real nice to get back into some disco and electro tonight. See you soon!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last weekend saw the fifth installment of Friendship at the Ossington go down, a night that surprised everyone with the generation of a sweet dancefloor out of nowhere. Dancing to weird tracks from the late 70s and early 80s, everyone smiling, fun times for all. Meanwhile the night before saw the record release for our comp Young Morticians in Love go down surprisingly successfully! Never before have I seen the Press Club so rammed, nor have I sweated so much while standing still. Young Flux brought the electro-jams to close the night, Gardens opened things with a dose of noisy, sloppy postpunk, and Pirate/Rock wowed with their cowboy-inflected garage psych. What a night! Prepare soon for shows with all of these bands, but meanwhile, check out what we've got in store for you this weekend:

It's a double dose of #1 Dad, with new bi-weekly party All Wronged Up kicking off on Friday July 25th, at the Ossington. Expect to hear a blend of songs you'll know and ones you'd never recognize: lots of mellow disco jams, jagged indie-rock anthems and scruffy postpunk. The next night sees Family Affair return to 751 after a six week hiatus, with the addition of special guest Gabe Knox, who'll pull back the clock to sometime in the early 80s, in New York, maybe at the Paradise Garage (?) before #1 Dad pushes it forward to the 21st century again. What fun!

While All Wronged Up goes down, Hi Mom will be putting in some time at the Beaver again, this time with friends-for-live Schramm and the Boner Dragon at Off White. Steve recently got hit by a car and shattered both wrists, so a guest spot's in order - - expect to hear everything from Metro Area to the Plasmatics to Black Flag to Gang of Four to Kid Creole. It's just that kind of night. What kind? A fun kind.

A-and then...
YES! We have another double-header weekend. Lisp takes on Room Party as always, with Pat C and CTV News at Noon completely killing it at the Beaver with lots of shit-pop, remixes, mash-ups, and slutty disco while Hi Mom and guests Tom Croozbeh and OPOPO tear things up with our blend of weird house, postpunk, electro, and total trash at the Boat. If you can't decide between these two parties, come to both! Since they'll both be a whole lot of fun.

And stay tuned for more info! August sees two live showcases taking place, as well as parties in London (Ontario), more fun at the Ossington, and all of our monthly standbys going down. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where have we been?!

Long time since you've heard from us!

Anyway, after a bit of a hiatus to reconvene and ready ourselves for the rest of July and August, we're back with some new news:

Young Morticians in Love, the CD release party for the compilation of 80s postpunk and coldwave, happens this Friday, July 18th. This will be a lot of fun, as we've brought in the talents of three great bands along with the rostered DJs. It all starts at 9pm on Friday, at the Press Club, which is located at 850 Dundas West, on the north side of the street, just east of Euclid.

FRIENDSHIP, our bi-monthly sit down and drink party at the Ossington, is going strong. This week's will feature a lot of postpunk and new wave, as well as some new disco edits I've dug up. We changed the name back from "Friendship Feels Great" because the general consensus was, the other party is in Vancouver, which is in a different city, in a different province, all the way across the country.

Next week sees the fourteenth installment of FAMILY AFFAIR go down in the 751 basement. This party has been fraught with date changes and bad omens, but this month sees it back to it's secured spot at the last Friday of the month, with DJ #1 Dad bringing out lots of postpunk and especially electro bangers. Special guest Gabe Knox brings his brand of cosmic discosis into the mix this month, so there's no way this party will be anything but good.

Finally, there are no track postings this week because time is not on my side. Stay tuned in the next couple of days for a full weekend report, party photos and more!

Monday, June 30, 2008

What We Do.

Weekend Roundup:

This weekend, as promised, was a bit of a slow one at Friends Explode HQ. However, there were a few exceptions to this:

On Friday, while the Lords of Kobol were stuck at a house party, Pat was helping out at the newly restarted VAZALEEN. All accounts point to a pretty great show, with a sold out Wrongbar crowd getting down to both SSION's unique brand of kitsch and weirdness-fueled disco-pop and Pat and Will's turns on the decks. Sounds to me like it wasn't just the party of the night, but the party of the month?

Saturday saw an early kickoff to FRIENDSHIP or OPTIMO, as it'll probably end up being called, at the Ossington. New Wave bled into postpunk bled into rap and disco and by the end of the night I was out of songs to play. And aside from the name issues, everything went off without a hitch.

What else then, is on the horizon?

Friday, July 4th is not only independence day but also Room Party's third installment at the Boat. We welcome this month Gabe Knox and Diana M., of Midnight Static fame. Expect lots of leftfield house, early electro, late electro, postpunk, weird disco, and trashy pop. And to dance! Also the required button giveaway, as well as a special treat, the Room Party zine, a collection of poster and flyer artwork from the last year and a half.

Also on this night, since we like to double book ourselves, Pat and CTV News at Noon will be playing at the Beaver for LISP. Remixes, shit pop, fun friends, friendly fun.

The next night is the second (third?) installment of FRIENDSHIP (Feels Great), or whatever it's called now, the night with the awkward name and rotating playlists. And if postpunk isn't your vibe, Andy and Todd will be at the Trane restarting Where's D'Angelo.

A-and... stay tuned for info about July's RTRD'D, as well as the launch party for YOUNG MORTICIANS IN LOVE, a compilation of obscure 1980s postpunk and new-wave. These go down July 12th and 18th, respectively.

Meanwhile, here are some songs we've been digging on this past week:

Yes, you more than likely have heard this song, because everyone of a certain age has heard the first Elastica album. But don't pass this over if you haven't heard it in a while. To me Elastica will always be stuck with two unavoidable burdens: first off, the "alternative" association of the whole skater-shit/Absolute 90's crowd generated from "Connection", and second the controversy of ripping off the rhythm and melody of Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba" almost fully. But really, Elastica get a bum rap. Such fun, songs about parties, songs about sex, short bursts of insanely catchy punk goodness. Yes, they wanted to be Wire. They never could be, though, which adds to their charm. Too bad, then, that the second album was so shitty?

Kid Creole & The Coconuts - There's Something Wrong In Paradise (Larry Levan Mix)
August Darnell will always be a better producer than musician, having been responsible for songs like Don Armando's "I'm An Indian Too", Aural Exciters "Spooks in Space" and James White's "Contort Yourself" disco mix, but that doesn't stop his stuff with the Coconuts from being really great, summertime disco-pop. "There's Something Wrong In Paradise", here remixed in a breezy house vein, vibes heavy on clean sounding vocals and tropical percussion while never feeling overly cornball or poorly executed. Not so dancefloor, but fun nonetheless.

In Flagranti - Melodymaker
Disco House champions trying their hands at glitch electro? Two jokers making fun of the cutout nature of most Ed Rec tracks? I don't know. In Flagranti's Wronger Than Anyone Else veers between amazingly warm sounding house songs to bizarre disco edits to drill n' bass bursts to... this. "Melodymaker" is extremely minimal gutter electro in the vein of Sebastian, Simian Mobile Disco or Feadz, with the repeated hook "I think about you in Melody Maker" gradually being overtaken by washes of guitar, bass and keys. Fun stuff, if not particularly original.

Feminine Complex - I Been Working On You (Demo)
And now completely out of leftfield from us is this, a 1969 demo by the Feminine Complex, one of those long-lost girl groups that had an album's worth of great garage beat but who never broke nationally or regionally. Thanks to the Rev-Ola reissue that came out a few years ago, there's now a chance to hear their music. This is the demo of one of their singles, which, to me, is far superior than what was released (it got covered in a lot of horns and strings and any immediacy it might've had was killed), just very spare, shaky garage rock. Think the Sonics or early Kinks but fronted by a less abrasive Grace Slick and there it is. Really awesome stuff!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sort of a late update this time around, sorry for that.

This past weekend was a fun one. On Thursday as always the Drake was fun, although I was fighting a flu and couldn't stand for more than twenty minutes at a time. Downstairs was pretty bumping, with Put the Rifle Down bringing out massive amounts of people and Golden Girls capping the night with a set of melodic and raunchy Casiotone pop. Jessie Keeler was in attendance as well, and, having been mistaken for him at least once a month for the past five years, it was funny to make eye contact with him and realize that, yes, we do look sort of similar.

On Friday the Spiral Beach kids and their friends took over Whippersnapper to great result: Carmen Elle played a set of exotica-tinged folk-pop, the Lords of Kobol had fun playing whatever they wanted to (postpunk into party rap, and then later noisy electro into 80s disco - fun!) and Spiral Beach even had people crowd surfing. Pretty crazy stuff. I'm hoping that the show paid for their postering fine.

Meanwhile at the Boat, Bang the Party celebrated its second anniversary with a late crowd, and while that's typical Friday night vibe, it's still irritating. Regardless, once the party started it didn't stop, and had I not been at Whippersnapper I would've been there. Friends say it was truly a jam, and the new BTP mix has been getting lots of play at my place.

Saturday was surprisingly busy, for what was to be a quiet night. There was an impromptu performance at the Ossington which has led to a new Friends Explode monthly starting their in July, more information on this later but it will be a night of fun songs and no dance music, to speak of.

The coming weekend is a slow one, with most of the time being devoted to the planning of the following three weeks, which include:

July 4th: Room Party at the Boat (Hi Mom, Gabe and Diana) and Lisp at the Beaver (Pat C and CTV News at Noon)

July 5th: Feelsgreat at the Ossington

July 12th: RTRD'D 6.2 at the Chelsea Room

July 18th: Young Morticians in Love CD Release Party at the Press Club

Yeah. July is a big month for us so stay tuned here and on Facebook for much info regarding the coming month. In the meantime here are some songs for you to check out:

Called the "1970s Daft Punk" by a lot of reporters looking for an easy shorthand, Droids were much more than that (if that's possible?). They simultaneously bridged the gap between the dying French Coldwave scene and the more traditional postpunk stuff coming out of Britain and the States, as well as injecting a much needed dose of electronics and space disco vibe into their music. Yes, their schtick was that they were robots. Yes, this sounds a lot like Daft Punk. But where Daft Punk build their compositions on house and an eye toward the past, Droids were firmly set in the retro-futuristic vibe of 1960s science fiction movies and television. Highly recommended.

Mo-Dettes: White Mice
This one will be familiar to anyone who owns any Rough Trade postpunk comp or has done any delving into the weirder world of German new-wave, but it's so good that it deserves recognition. Simultaneously a response to and a move away from the dance-punk of Gang of Four, Bush Tetras and the Slits, the Mo-Dettes made a song so hooky and poppy and yet so rhythmically odd that you can't help but dance awkwardly to it. Really great stuff!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What We Did.

While not exactly cut short by, this weekend's activities were sure curtailed by the double attack of insane weather and NXNE. Nevertheless, still fun!

Friday's Famous Players website launch saw a half-full basement getting way down to Adam+Jeff's blend of mashups, slutty electro, and trashy remixes, while upstairs Hi Mom and Ellie figured out new ways to mix in and out of hiphop, classic funk, no-wave, krautrock and disco. Truly, it was a jam.

It was so beautiful out on Saturday that it was hard not to imagine that every party in the city would be wall-to-wall rammed:

The Family Affair anniversary was a fun time, with Pat C and #1 Dad spending the night switching off between classic new wave, electrohouse and 80s disco jams while up the street Hi Mom and Hard Dough played to a (mostly) empty house, albeit one that filled up pretty quick by the time last call hit. Weird! But each party had a respectable dancefloor, and when our competition was as heavy as it was, that was all that we could have asked for.

What's in store, though? On June 20th, Hi Mom and Hard Dough reconvene at the Whippersnapper gallery to bring some needed well wishes to the kids in Spiral Beach: after postering a few garbage bins, they got hit with a $1500 fine! What??? Terrible news. Never ones to take adversity for what it is, the band has turned their misfortune into a party: an all night benefit at the Whippersnapper to help them pay the fine. Expect bands, rowdiness, smiles and fun. Hi Mom and Hard Dough take the decks between sets, with an extended dance set at the end of the night!

And if that's not your bag, Bang the Party celebrates it's one year anniversary the same night, at The Boat!

Meanwhile, you might want to check out these tracks. They're sure to make you smile at least a little:

Bluejuice - Vitriol
Like McLusky, Blur, or the Buzzcocks before them, Bluejuice manage to take everything good about snotty, bratty music and leave all of the annoying bits behind. "Vitriol", from their album Problems is a nice taste of fuzzy, organ driven pop-punk, with a much firmer dance beat and less of a focus on lyricism. I won't lie: this isn't smart music. But when has this kind of thing ever been particularly smart?

Sexual Harassment - You Are My Sexual Connection
On the "shamefully neglected 80s New York art-disco" tip is Sexual Harassment. This song is the closer from their only release, 1982's I Need A Freak. The whole album, but this song in particular, is the kind of overjoyed, sexually charged dance music being made in the death throes of disco. It's the kind of coke fueled, forward looking dance-pop that would presuppose stuff like DFA and DC Records, not to mention bands like Out Hud, Stereo Total and Professor Murder, among others. Well worth tracking down!

See you on the weekend!